Week 9: 4/30-5/4
Well here it is week 9, WOW, only 5 more official weeks to go. I feel really positive about my time in the classroom and the effects that is having on shaping who I am to become as a teacher on my own. I am enjoying the students, the pace, the structure, the daily planning and re-planning, the collaboration, the challenges, the sense of purpose and the comfort I am feeling. In a word; I am right where I feel I should be. Although, the added pressure of the TPA and additional coursework is overwhelming at times and often unclear, I am finding that if I keep the end goal of being a certified teacher with a Master of Arts in Teaching- Elementary Education, it all becomes a bit more manageable.
This week started with another observation/review of my supervisor. I taught a whole class science lesson from the FOSS science curriculum. It was fun to have not only students excited, active and involved in the curriculum (they really love science right now) while my supervisor observed, but to have my mentor teacher present as well. With both my supervisor and mentor teacher evaluating my anxiety could have been high. However, I was pleasantly clam and comfortable. I feel as if I have accessed a new sense of comfort in front of the class, evaluators, cooperative peers and colleagues. This feeling of comfort is good. It allows a sort of freedom that keeps me from getting overwhelmed by the small details of teaching. Instead I now feel as if I can be more creative and try different strategies within a lesson, even if that is not what was planned. Additionally, I feel that, with this sense of freedom, I have more choice. I am better able to access different modalities and increase the benefits of differentiated instruction, moment to moment, for all students. This skill of creativity within instruction or during a lesson seems to be developing in to more of a natural tendency for me, rather than a deliberately designed activity. This is not to say that my curriculum is not intentionally planned, however, I am able to better focus on the interests and direction of student needs as lessons unfold and develop. More flexibility within my instruction offers more opportunities for students to make personal connections and deepen individual learning.
As the next few weeks unfold the added pressures of high stakes testing are going to arise. This not only a stressful time for teachers and students but for the community as a whole the unfortunate reality of limited instructional time increases tension even more. Because of decrease instructional time I am thankful that I am gaining the skill of flexibility and freedom within instruction. This will support my effort to create deeper meaning making opportunities for the students with the limited time we do have.